Man U

Who are FC Rostov? Man United’s Europa League opponents


Manchester United are now England’s sole representative in the Europa League after Tottenham crashed out at the hands of Gent.

Incredibly, such is the seemingly interminable longevity of the competition that we are still only at the last-16 stage.

United have been drawn against Russian side FC Rostov, travelling over 1000 miles to them for the first leg before playing the return at Old Trafford.

Rostov are not the household name some fans will have been hoping for, but they are by no means a pushover either.

So, a brief history. Having previously been named Selmash and later, Traktor, they had a fairly average history in the Soviet League before the disintegration of the USSR.


Since it became the Russian Premier League – in which they now sit seventh – they’ve been equally inconsistent. They have had some success in the cups, winning the Russian Cup in 2014.

However, they were subsequently booted out of the Europa League, which they had qualified for as a result of that triumph, due to financial rules.

The last year has been a peak for them. Not only did they reach the qualifying stages of the Champions League, they then beat Anderlecht and Ajax to reach the group stages.

As their presence in the Europa League suggests, that’s as far as it went, as they fell victim to an impossibly hard group of Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and PSV Eindhoven.


This is where it gets interesting – they actually beat Bayern 3-2, earning their first ever Champions League win after coming from 2-1 down. That night, temperatures dropped below -4C, so United could face some pretty hostile conditions.

At present, they’re managed by Kurban Berdyev, and they’ve rarely strayed away from Russian coaches. The veteran is originally from Turkmen, a Soviet republic, and holds Russian citizenship.

In fact, only once in their history have they had a manager from outside the USSR. That was Miodrag Božović, from Montenegro, Yugoslavia, between 2012 and 2014.


You get the impression there’s something rather insular about the minnows.

Dmitriy Poloz is likely to be their key man against United. The forward has nine goals and seven assists this season and has particularly excelled in Europe.

Jose Mourinho should be confident of a win at home, playing in tricky Russian conditions could be an altogether different ask.

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